Words Are Powerful In Your Life
Words are fascinating! Like seeds, they are seemingly small and unassuming yet are brimming with potential. Some seeds produce incredible beauty, some produce the sustenance we count on, some others produce pesky weeds!
Like seeds, your words have powerful potential. They have the potential to speak life or death, to nourish those around you or to tear them down.
A Moment of Frustration
When my kiddos were small, my husband traveled a good bit for work. At times, he was on the other side of the world for three weeks at a time making it difficult to connect. Not only did this have an impact on me as mom, but it also had an impact on my kids.
Like all young children, my oldest son had his moments. I’m not proud of it, but sometimes his relentless and challenging behavior frustrated me. As a result, I would tell him that he was “driving me nuts” or that he was “driving me crazy.” Ugh!
My family still chuckles about how my son turned my frustrated words into “you are driving my nuts crazy,” yet there was nothing chuckle-worthy about what I was communicating to him.
Kids copy – they follow your example even when it’s not a good one!
Words of Life
God demonstrates the power of words in the very first chapter of the Bible! In Genesis 1:1 He literally speaks the universe into being!
And isn’t it interesting that John refers to Jesus as The Word in the first chapter of John? John goes on to say, “The Word (Jesus) gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone.” John 1:4 (NLT). Jesus spoke life into YOU, too!
A little further on in John it says, “The Father has life in Himself, and He has granted that same life-giving power to His Son (The Word).” John 5:26 (NLT).
Words Are Revealing
We learn in I John 4:8 that God is love. He embodies love! And God’s words reveal His heart for you and me.
In Proverbs 4:23 we are told to keep vigilant watch over our hearts because that’s where life starts, but we often miss the following verse.
Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Proverbs 4:23-24 (MSG)
In other words, what’s in your heart leaks out through your words, just like my less than uplifting words directed at my son.
The Unspoken Words
Sometimes the most impactful words are the words that remain unspoken, the words that are rattling around in your head that you speak to yourself. Be honest, are those words healing or hurting you?
Is your “self-talk” powerfully impacting your life for the better? Or it is powerfully taking a toll on you? Your inner dialogue goes on day in and day out whether you consciously tune in to hear the conversation or not.
The words you speak to yourself leave a mark – they literally create pathways in your brain. After a while these grooves or ruts become second nature – your default way of thinking. If they are good grooves – it’s a very good thing! But if your default is negative, it becomes a harmful rut.
Your negative words to yourself or your negative self-talk reveals what’s in your heart and has the potential to lead to…
- Illness or depression
- A lack of peace
- A lack of appreciation for all the good in your life
- Being stuck
- An overflow that negatively affects your relationships and work
- Zapped energy
- Believing lies
- Multiplying your fears
The good news – you get to choose the words you speak to yourself and to others.
Your words have the power to set brand new ways of thinking into motion and that creates a chemical reaction that changes your brain – rewires it! That’s exciting!
Ready to speak words of life?
1. Notice Your Words
What do you repeatedly find yourself saying? The words you use are revealing, so pay attention to what you are actually saying in your head and to others.
Behind the words I frequently shared with my son (“you are driving me crazy” and “you are driving me nuts”) was a victim mentality. The truth is he wasn’t doing that to me, I was allowing him to get to me. Now, there’s no denying that children, the job, or circumstances are all quite bothersome at times, it’s what I choose to do with those situations that makes a difference.
When my words are revealing that I see myself as a victim, I am believing there’s nothing I can do. The good news is that when I realize my victim perspective, I have a choice to make.
My frustration wasn’t so much my son, but the weight of my responsibilities in that season. The proactive response would have been to cut myself some slack and let some less important tasks go so that I had the energy needed to more appropriately handle things with my son. Hindsight is amazing!
Notice your words. What are they revealing about you?
2. Beware of Tiny Words
- But – Three letters, yet anything that follows that word is invalidated. For example, “I would love to help you, but I just don’t have the time.” suggests that you don’t want to help at all. It’s better to say, “I am not free to help you.” This may seem small, yet it has a powerful effect on your thinking.
Often the use of the word “but” is a way of sidestepping responsibility.
- Try (Trying) – Another wee word that implies an “iffy” commitment. When you say “try” you are practically setting yourself up to fail. For example, notice the difference between saying “I’m trying to lose 15 pounds” versus “I’m working on losing 15 pounds.”
Another example, “’I’m going to try and help you on Saturday” versus “I will be there at 12pm to help you on Saturday” or “I’m unable to help you on Saturday.”
Which response would you prefer to be on the other side of? Which would provide more clarity?
- I can’t – These two words signal to your brain that you don’t have what it takes! Odds are you are far more capable than you think! We all have limitations which are wonderful to opportunities for God to make up for your lack.
This little phrase keeps you from venturing out of your comfort zone, expanding your skill set, and growing.
You’ll never know what you are actually capable of as long as you are telling yourself “I can’t.”
- Wish – Sadly, you aren’t able to wish anything into existence, it takes steady action! Using the word wish implies a passive role in whatever you are attempting. Instead, choose proactive words. Turn your “I wish” statements into “I will” statements.
- I am – Be very careful about how you are labeling yourself. Rather than saying “I am angry” or “I am frustrated” it’s better to say “I feel angry” or “I feel frustrated.” Feelings are temporary. They change – they do not define you.
- If – That two letter word expresses doubt rather than certainty. Replace “If” with “when.”
- Should – Using the word should indicates something you think you are obligated to do, maybe expected to do, but not necessarily something you want to do or will actually do. Next time you are tempted to use the word should, replace it with “I choose,” or “I get to.”
- Luck – There is no such thing as luck! Thinking you are lucky discounts the role God plays in your circumstances as well as the hard work you’ve contributed. Most likely you are blessed and diligent, rather than lucky! Of course, the same applies to the word unlucky!
3. Dig Deeper
As your awareness grows around the words you are thinking and speaking, then you are able to dig a little deeper and explore the beliefs behind those words. Journaling is an excellent way to dig into the beliefs behind your words. What you discover might surprise you! Perhaps your Fear Monster is lurking behind them.
Once you are clear on the mindsets and beliefs that are behind your words, then you are able to express yourself more mindfully.
If getting to the root beliefs and mindsets is challenging for you, consider working with a coach who is able to spot the patterns so that you are able to shift to more helpful ways of thinking.
4. Embrace Your Identity in Christ
God loves you! He doesn’t love you in a casual kind-of-sort-of-way. He loves you in a deep, all-encompassing way! His love for you is so deep that He was willing to sacrifice His own Son so that you might become one of His very own sons or daughters! When you know you are truly loved it changes everything!
He has a purpose for you – something you alone are able to do with His help. It’s a way of being that’s incredibly fulfilling to you, brings glory to Him, and makes a wonderful difference in the lives of others!
Being more mindful about your words is not a once-and-done-kind-of-thing, it’s an ongoing process!
Imagine your words powerfully serving you in the best possible way. What would need to change to make that a reality?
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